June 16, 2014 4:35 am

UN chief calls reports of mass killings in Iraq ‘deeply disturbing’

This image posted on a militant website on Saturday, June 14, 2014, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, appears to show militants from the al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) leading away captured Iraqi soldiers dressed in plain clothes after taking over a base in Tikrit, Iraq. (AP Photo via militant website)

GENEVA – The U.N. chief says the reports of Islamic militants massacring scores of captured Iraqi soldiers after overrunning towns and cities are “deeply disturbing” and those responsible for it must be brought to justice.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned Monday against sectarian rhetoric that could inflame the conflict and carry grave implications for the entire region.

He said he welcomed the statement on the need for Iraqi unity made by Grand Ayatollah Sayed Ali Al-Sistani, who he said “represents a deeply influential voice of wisdom and reason.”

READ MORE: Canada’s charge d’affaires leaves Iraq over security concerns

The Islamic militants who overran cities and towns in Iraq last week have posted graphic photos online that appear to show their gunmen massacring scores of captured Iraqi soldiers.

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